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Heath

 


Lowland heath is an interesting habitat and many issues surround it. It is not a natural habitat, it is man-made and yet it it has international protection status and much time, energy and funding goes into trying to maintain that which remains and restore some of what has been lost. The heathland habitats of Dorset fall into one of six categories:

 

  • Dry heath: higher areas of heath on sandy soils where the primary species are usually ling, bell heather and dwarf gorse
  • Dry heath/acid grass mosaic: areas of dry heath with patches of grassland present
  • Wet heath: lower areas that are subject to puddling and some water retention where the dominant heather becomes cross-leaved heath
  • Valley myre and bog: Low lying heathland areas almost permanently waterlogged and where the dominant vegetation becomes mosses and rushes
  • Dune heath: heath that forms on sand dunes that have been stabilised by marram grass and related species
  • Limestone heath: a rare habitat that can be found where acid soils have been deposited on limestone substraits

 

 

Habitat Types: 
Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

These are some of the habitat types that occur within this general classification. Click/tap any thumbnail for more detail about a specific habitat type.

Dry heath typically occurs on higher levels of fertile acid sands and gravels that drain freely with the falling rain water passing quickly through the soil to the peat layer below and down towards wet heath and...

As you walk over higher dry heath you will occasionally come across areas of open grassland which have resulted from past agricultural activity. In some cases this may date date to Mesolithic times and the original...

Wet heath occurs in two situations. Firstly in shallow hollows in surrounding dry heath (these can be quite big hollows!) or, secondly, as a transitional phase between dry heath and valley mire and bog. Wet heath is not...

Although valley mire and bogs are technically wetland habitats I have included them with heath because they form in low lying valleys and depressions in heathland areas where water percolates through the sand and gravel...

Dune heath forms on sand dunes that are relatively stable and where heather can take hold often after marram grass has started to colonise. Studland is the only example of dune heath in the south of England. It has a much...

Limestone heath is a rare habitat type and occurs where sand deposits have accumulated on a limestone substrate. Limestone heath usually forms at high level on hills and escarpment slopes the sand having come from further...